If you believe that “spotting” is common sense and that you could easily lift all kinds of vehicles, then you’re fated to have an accident sooner or later. Never assume that vehicle lifting is the same from one lift to another and one vehicle to another.
If you’ve never witnessed a vehicle slide off a vehicle lift, it could happen and does happen. It’s a gruesome picture, especially if you or a coworker gets squashed under it. Here are some crucial questions you must always ask yourself prior to lifting any type of vehicle on any type of lift:
- Where’s the vehicle’s center of gravity? It’s important to know that with some types of vehicles, the installation or removal of components could result in a significant shift in the center of gravity.
- What specific type of vehicle lift are you planning to use — a two-post or a four-post Bendpak car lift? JMCAutomotiveEquipment.com noted that it's best if you know which is which and what their features are.
- Could the work you’re planning on doing shift the vehicle’s weight? Should you consider using support stands for stabilizing the load? Are you planning on removing heavy parts from the vehicle?
- What’s inside the vehicle? Could the content possibly impact the lifted balance? For instance, what's inside the trunk or inside the pickup under the camper cover? Similarly, are the fire engine’s water tanks empty or is the engine of the bus in front of the axle in front? Put simply, know what’s inside the vehicle.
- Is your lift equipped with a fall arrest or prevention system? Does the load avoid falling because it’s supported structurally or is it suspended and arrested after it’s starting to fall? Thoroughly check the wire ropes or suspension chains if your lift uses the fall arrest system before you start lifting.
Most vehicle lifting accidents are preventable. Always take some time to inspect each lift and vehicle you’re going to use prior to lifting. Exercise sound judgment and discretion. If you really think about what you are going to do and plan ahead, you won’t have any issues.